POWER [August, 15 2006]

Cover Stories

1-MW fuel cell cogeneration project, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California

Beer drinkers know and love Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s dedication to bottling premium beers, and that commitment has earned it numerous tasting awards. But it would also win awards on the basis of using clean, high-tech brewing technologies. Sierra Nevada has chosen to minimize its environment footprint by investing in a reuse/reduce/recycle beer-making process. The company has found a way to make its "closed-cycle brewery" a good corporate citizen without compromising bottom-line results.

Arcos de la Frontera Grupo III Combined-Cycle Plant, Cádiz, Spain

Iberdrola is rapidly making a name for itself on the world stage for building large, very efficient combined-cycle plants and for being the largest owner and operator of wind power plants. The utility's most recent achievement was the successful commissioning of the Arcos de la Frontera Group III project, which marks the commercial debut of General Electric's Frame 9FB gas turbine.

Bavaria Solarpark, Germany

The world's largest solar electric system was dedicated in June 2005 in Mühlhausen, Germany. The 10-MW system comprises three separate but interconnected photovoltaic parks in different cities that use an innovative sun-tracking system to maximize their outputs. After one year of operation, all three parks are still going strong—as you'd expect, due to their dearth of moving parts.

Bethlehem Energy Center, Glenmont, New York

A great location, a fish-friendly cooling system, and the extent of environmental remediation needed to permit it distinguish this repowering project on the Hudson River just south of the New York State capital.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration Facility, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration facility supplies critical electricity and steam to New York City. Situated on an historic site, the plant has earned a series of awards and was the first cogeneration plant to be accepted into both the U.S. EPA National Environmental Performance Track and OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program in 2005. Through Delta Power's unique asset management approach that brings added value to projects, BNYC has reinvented itself from a struggling, prematurely aging facility into one of the nation's leading plants.

Currant Creek Power Plant, Mona, Utah

Commercial operation of PacifiCorp's first new power plant in more than 20 years coincided with the company's acquisition by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company this past March. Currant Creek treads lightly on the environment, provides needed power to PacifiCorp's eastern control area, and has demonstrated its commitment to be a good corporate citizen of the local community. By any account, Currant Creek is a model for how to develop a power project.

Kannagawa Hydropower Plant, Japan

With the commercial debut of the first of six planned 470-MW turbines in December 2005, the time has come to pay homage to the sheer size (2,820 MW) and longevity (13 years and counting) of TEPCO's Kannagawa Hydropower Plant. By the time Unit 2 is commissioned in 2010, and Units 3 through 6 go on-line "in and after 2016," two generations of engineers, technicians, and builders will have worked on the "pure" pumped-storage project since its inception. As if those stats weren't impressive enough, Kannagawa marks the debut of "splitter runners" for pump-turbines. They increase the effective head of the plant to the highest in the world: 2,142 feet, at a flow of 135,000 gallons/second. That's a very large pump-turbine, indeed.

Linden Generating Station, Linden, New Jersey

It would be easy to dismiss Linden—which is powered by now-ubiquitous GE 7FA gas turbines and D11 steam turbines—as just another cookie-cutter combined-cycle plant. But its size (1,240 MW), key location near New York City, and use of reclaimed water for all cooling water needs makes Linden deserving of recognition as one of POWER's Top Plants of 2006. Perhaps its most interesting story is how the project survived more than five years from groundbreaking to commissioning.

Monticello Steam Electric Station, Mount Pleasant, Texas

Why does Monticello, a 30-year-old plant, deserve recognition as one of POWER's Top Plants of 2006? Because TXU has been blending Powder River Basin (PRB) coal with local lignite at the plant for the past decade, and steady reductions in air-pollutant emission rates have been the result. That positive experience has made the company confident enough to propose building nearly 9,100 MW of new coal- or lignite-fired capacity in Texas by 2010 at a cost of $10 billion. Read on to share some of the lessons that TXU has learned about handling PRB coal safely.

Mountainview Power Plant, Redlands, California

Southern California Edison and Bechtel resurrected the 1,054-MW Mountainview power project after a two-year hiatus while meeting aggressive budget and schedule constraints. Edison exercised its option to purchase the project after regulatory approvals were received at light speed, and construction resumed the very day approval was granted. Residents of California's Inland Empire will enjoy their air conditioners this summer because Mountainview was transformed from a wasteland into a productive plant.

NYPA Astoria Project, Astoria, New York

New York City has an insatiable appetite for power, but supplying that power from plants inside the city's five boroughs (where 80% of its peak demand must come from) is tough. So it's nothing short of miraculous that a 500-MW combined-cycle plant in Astoria, Queens, began commercial operation at the end of 2005. What did it take to bring this plant on-line? The largest state-owned power organization in the U.S.—The New York Power Authority.

POWER magazine's Top Plants of 2006

On the following pages, we introduce the magazine's 12 Top Plants of 2006. Among this year's winners are two solar energy plants and another that marries fuel cells with heat…

Saguaro Solar Power Plant, Red Rock, Arizona

We tend to forget that today's super-sized power plant designs began life as small prototypes that grew in size only as fast as technology and economics allowed. Arizona Public Service, a long-time leader in solar energy development, has invested in the development of one such technology that is compatible with the sunny Southwest and certain to become more cost-competitive in the near future. This successful demonstration of a 1-MW concentrated solar power, trough-style energy system is the first to have put power on the grid since 1988. But it certainly won't be the last.


ISA/EPRI conference offers a smorgasbord of control cuisines   

This year's main course, as usual, was instrumentation and controls. Side dishes of digital nuclear plant controls, plant controller and IT security, corrosion monitoring, and model predictive control added their own distinctive flavors. There was something for every taste, from the theoretical to the practical.

Mergers present challenges—and opportunities—for plant managers

The sale or merger of any company takes its toll on employees. Though it's merely a hassle adapting to a different T&E form, the sudden uncertainty about health-care coverage and pension can be truly stressful. For plant managers, the impact is even greater—adapting to a new budgeting process and reporting requirements, not to mention answering hundreds of subordinates' questions about the future, even before the deal closes. However, plant managers may actually end up better off as a result of a merger or acquisition.

Profiling your plant engineering staff

The latest benchmarking study by the EUCG examines the engineering and technical staffing of 62 plants, 92% of which burn coal. If you benchmark your units, plants, or fleet, the results may raise some eyebrows. But they also may help justify your plea for more intellectual capital during the upcoming budgeting cycle. Though the detailed results of the study are proprietary to EUCG member companies that participated in it, POWER was given access to the complete findings. If you want details at the plant/unit level, you'll have to join the EUCG and participate in the study, which is ongoing.



Proposed PM2.5 regulation goes too far

By Quin Shea, Edison Electric Institute The U.S. electric power industry is committed to improving America's air quality. Progress over the past 25 years has been real and significant and…

New Products

Legal & Regulatory

Passing on regulatory risks undermines renewable mandates

  More than 20 states now require their investor-owned utilities to serve a certain percentage of their load with renewable energy by a date certain. Other states are considering following…

Focus on O&M

Focus on O&M (July/August 2006)

Safer, "virtual" reactor walkdowns; Beating the heat with inlet cooling; Reaching remote substations without fiber; One-year payback for lightning protection systems; Reaching remote substations without fiber

Global Monitor

Global Monitor (July/August 2006)

Russia's new nuclear navy;Russia's old nuclear navy; First LMS100 fired up by Basin Electric;More Jenbacher gensets to Hungary; A baseload-size wind farm?; EEI bestows Edison Awards; POWERnotes

Readers Talk Back (August 2006)

Cape Wind's economics questioned The cited study concludes that the Cape Wind Project will "receive a 25% return on equity, 2.5 times the historical average for all corporations" when the…

Speaking of Power

Banana republic

  Learning theorists tell us that one of the key reasons we don't learn from our mistakes is that we don't or won't recognize them as such. We attribute good…

POWER magazine's Top Plants of 2006

On the following pages, we introduce the magazine's 12 Top Plants of 2006. Among this year's winners are two solar energy plants and another that marries fuel cells with heat…

GBR Reports